I’ve been addressing the idea of leftovers lately, what with the coming and going of Canadian Thanksgiving. Today, I want to present an easy dish you can roll out to help make any leftover protein seem first-meal special. I hope you are a fan of Asian flavours and enjoy a bit of heat!
Udon Noodles in Miso Broth, with lots of yummy additions. Did I mention that
you can also add tired Leafy Greens like Cabbage, Spinach and Kale?
Just shred them coarsely and stir in at the last moment…
I first made this Asian Soup one day when I had a fridge full of leftovers of all sorts that didn’t really go together, but I didn’t want to make something new before I used them up. I started with a broth and a protein and went form there, cleaning out my fridge…
Step one was the broth. I had a little Chicken Stock leftover from something a few days earlier, but it wasn’t enough to make soup for four. So, I topped up the liquid to four cups with water and added 2 tablespoons of Miso. For those of you who haven’t been introduced to it, Miso is an Asian fermented Soy Paste with a lot of Salt in it. If you’re adding Miso, never add Salt until you taste the Miso-only version of whatever you’re cooking. I occasionally make my Leftover Asian Soup with Miso-only Broth. See how much Miso flavour you like and adjust the amount you add accordingly.
To the Stock/Miso mixture, I added a teaspoon of Soy Sauce and a dribble of Sesame Oil. Add more of either of these, to suit your taste or balance your protein’s flavour. Use more if you’re using leftover Beef, less if you’re working with leftover Pork or Chicken.
Start adding stuff…
Next, in go a handful of Frozen Peas and another of Sweet Corn kernels, These are great with anything else you might throw into the pot.
Shred or cube your leftover meat and add that. Add as much as you like. Some of my Asian Soups have bordered on Stews, when I wanted to use up all of the leftover meat I had on hand so as not to waste anything.
I always add sliced Button Mushrooms to my soup. There are always some in the house and some inevitably stay past their prime. There’s nothing wrong with them, but their gills open up and they aren’t as attractive as they should be for presentation is Salads and other dishes.
Onions are optional. I sometimes slice a leftover half or quarter Onion in thin slices and stir into my Soup. I prefer to add scallions, sliced on the bias Asian style, near the end of cooking, to enhance the Asian identity of the dish.
You can add leftover Veggies of any kind, provided they are already tender or can be sliced thin. They have to cook through in the time it takes for the Soup to simmer. Carrots and Celery are good candidates, if they are getting old in the fridge. Slice on the bias, very thin. ‘Souping’ them will wake them up nicely!
As often as not, I add some Udon or Flat Rice Noodles, too. If using Rice Noodles, remember that they cook very quickly. Stir them in just before you’re ready to serve…
Spice it up?
I like a moderate amount of heat in my Asian Soup. I add it by dropping in a whole dried Thai Chili or a sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes. You can also put in some fresh Chili Pepper if you like…You can add as much as you want – or none at all.
And… It’s nice to add a big pinch of Chinese Five Spice blend to any Asian Soup, to give it that unmistakable, inimitable Asian character.
Give it time to simmer…
Let your coup simmer for at least half an hour. Most of the ingredients won’t need cooking again, but simmering is in dispensable to draw out their flavours and get them friendly with one another. That’s essential for a successful Soup!
And that’s it…
You get a great – perhaps unique – entrée Soup and your fridge gets cleaned out at the same time!
And remember: It’s okay to slurp!
~ Maggie J.